The Illusion of Happiness

Three girls holding a poster.
Gabby Berthioume, Ava Gailings, and Bella Daraoui present on the pros and cons of Individualism.

More, better, faster. Immediately, hurry, now.

These are the modifiers that fuel our world today. Our young people are led to believe that the key to happiness comes from things that can gratify immediately and fill the ache of emptiness. Concepts such as individualism, popularity, and technological “fixes” are the early 21st century’s combat skills employed to fight loneliness and an imbalanced self-perception.  Woven into St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s “Introduction to Catholicism” course is a critical analysis of these barriers to happiness. 

Peering into Mr. Randy Wolter’s class can, at first glance, leave one with a less-than-accurate impression. Students presenting at the front of the class, leading their peers through a slide presentation- these are common sights around a high school. But the core message of their address is what entices a passerby to interrupt her walk. 

“Perhaps if we experienced suffering more, we could empathize more with those who have less,” said an STA freshmen. “The concept of earning something through hard work is fading away,” said another.  Through honest discussions about the pressures facing the youth of today, our Saints dug deeply into Catholic teaching- namely that God loves each human being unconditionally. “God says to love your neighbor as yourself. No one is better than anyone else.”

The source of true happiness lies not in objects of the world but in the unconditional love bequeathed generously to each seeking person. In a time when the lure of cell phones, internet and social media pluck away at adolescents’ self-esteem, we at St. Thomas Aquinas are grateful for an authentic and irrefutable perspective-  God’s.